Pennington Biomedical, partner launch digital weight loss coaching app

Published: Apr. 11, 2018 at 8:24 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2018 at 8:26 AM CDT
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Source: LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Source: LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A new app, previously tested at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Center, puts a weight loss coach in your pocket. LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Amway Corporation launched the BodyKey™ SmartLoss™ program Wednesday. It's now available in the U.S. and Canada, and soon to be throughout the world.

"I think this partnership, beyond being relative for our organizations, is something that really promises to impact human health and improve lives for our customers, and that's what's really exciting for us," said Paul Seehra, director of global discovery at Amway.

The launch of the SmartLoss™ Graph and digital coach is the direct result of the LSU LIFT grant program. In 2014, Pennington Biomedical received a $49,500 award to help Drs. Leanne Redman and Corby Martin develop software to enhance a smartphone app for weight loss and weight management.

Dr. Redman says they used those funds to develop the first version of the SmartLoss™ app. That original pilot data from the first version of the app is what allowed Pennington to reach out to Amway and form a partnership.

"There's science here that has been validated in literature that can really make a dramatic change. This program is about sustainable weight loss. We're essentially putting Pennington's 'science know-how' to work in the form of a digital coach on your smartphone," said Seerah.

Past Pennington projects also had a hand in the evolution of the app. "Pennington Biomedical has developed and executed a number programs over the last few years through studies on weight loss, including the Diabetes Prevention Program, the DASH diet, and the CALERIE study," said Dr. Redman.

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It's thanks to those studies, like the CALERIE study, that Dr. Redman says provided very sophisticated measurements on metabolism, metabolic changes, and measurements of body composition that allowed them to design the SmartLoss™ Graph.

"That allowed us to develop mathematic models and equations that can generate a weight graph for any person on the basis of their gender, their age, their starting weight and height, and how much weight they would like to lose over the course of the program," said Dr. Redman.

During a presentation at the app launch, Dr. Redman shared features of the SmartLoss™ program.


  • Realistic weight loss goals (5 to 10 percent over six months)
  • Highly structured meal plans (that include meal replacements and portion-controlled foods)
  • Self-monitoring (recording food intake, regular weighing)
  • Regular feedback (on weight change to reflect adherence to diet and exercise goals)
  • Relying on online platforms (with a weight graph to guide treatment delivery)

The SmartLoss™ graph is comprised of a collection of information, including the user's daily weigh-in and step measurements, so the user can monitor progress and get feedback in the form of "smart tips" based on the graph data.

"The people that were using this system lost 10 percent of their body weight in comparison to a group that was also trying to lose weight, but didn't have access to those resources," said Dr. Redman.

MORE: Learn more about LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The app is free to download in iTunes or GooglePlay, but you do have to sign up to purchase six months of the BodyKey™ meal replacement shakes and portion-controlled snacks in order to gain access to the full program. You can continue to use the app for free after the first six months, even if you do not continue purchasing the BodyKey™ products.

The starter kit costs around $100. It's only available for purchase through an independent consultant.

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